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With her customary accuracy, Jane Gardam reveals the extraordinariness of ordinary people as she deals with the pangs of love- fulfilled or hopeless, sexual or spiritual, tortured or hilarious- in these eleven stories.

Paraded here are ladies with a ‘thing’ about vicars, strange events happening in ornate downstairs lavatories (and in ornate upstairs ones), and the English abroad, desperate and dotty. The glum and impossible Edna haunts the supermarket- and dispenses an unlikely kiss of life. The younger sister of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid declares her sibling ‘very silly’ and turns her story on its tail, an old maid forms a curious liason with a tramp, and small moments of temptation fill hotel rooms as histories glance briefly off each other.

Reviews

There is, in Jane Gardam's writing, the air of a magician. Each story unfolds with precision, art concealing art, and with a marvellously satisfying punch line
DAILY TELEGRAPH
A spare and elegant master of her art
THE TIMES
Exuberant narration and stylish dialogue; I read it with relish... powerful and haunting.
Penelope Lively, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Marvellously precise sleight-of-hand short stories.
DAILY MAIL
All the stories possess a delicacy and economy which leaves one, having read them, with just the right measure of pleasurable incompleteness
FINANCIAL TIMES
Assured and enjoyable
STANDARD
She does fiction as it should be done, with confidence and insight
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Observer